CD Exclusive! Renaissance Condo Neighbor to Build Experimental Environmental High-Rise in Oaklawn

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Inspiration for the new high-rise came from this bold tree/townhouse design. We LOVE it!

Just a few weeks ago we reported on the mysterious new owner of the “Poston Property” on Hall Street that’s surrounded by the Renaissance Condos.  Now, an insider has provided exclusive detail on the still shrouded owner’s plans.

Remember, Steve Brown, you read it here first.

Apparently the owner, a former household name in the petroleum industry, is looking to do some environmental penance by constructing this first-of-its-kind, self-sustaining, fertilizing, high-rise residential urban farm!

The new building, simply called The Farm, is the brainchild of architect Aibek Almassov and will be based on his cylindrical tree/townhouse design seen throughout this column.  Obviously the square lot requires some adjustments and will retain a glass box aesthetic but lose the central tree in favor of renewable gardens.  The 26-story building, having sailed through permitting just days ago at Masterplan, of course, will feature many environmental firsts.

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The floors will be approximately 18 inches thick and will be infilled with CitySoil, a lightweight soil substitute designed for green roofs.  It weighs a fraction of natural soil and is made from 100 percent recyclable components — plants love it, people love to smell it.

The developer’s goal is to sign-up green thumbed tenants who want to grow their own food.  The CitySoil depth and extensive use of glass ensures that most crops, from carrots to corn and more,  can be grown year-round.

The CitySoil system is also watertight to protect downstairs neighbors from irrigation-related leaks.

Since live animals round out the organic solution for fresh, nutritious protein, the CitySoil system is also soundproof, allowing residents the option to raise small chickens while neighbors are undisturbed.

Thousands of people around the country have started growing organic produce in their yards, and some have even taken it a step further and started raising chickens for fresh eggs. “You’ll know what the chickens ate and how they lived. As with a backyard vegetable garden, backyard chickens give you some measure of self-sufficiency,” explains Christine Heinrichs, author of How to Raise Chickens: Everything You Need to Know


A most luxurious campsite
A most luxurious campsite. S’Mores, anyone?

Connected to the CitySoil system will be a water recycling and reclamation system that recirculates grey water from sinks and showers to water plants.  Brown water and plant matter will be collected, processed/composted and returned to residents as fertilizer.  My source claims that between water recycling and catchment systems, the building will not require city water except for fire suppression sprinklers — a world first!

Smart Glass will provide privacy and power generation
Smart Glass will provide privacy and power generation

For privacy, the building will be clad in Smart Glass that becomes opaque at the flick of a switch. (Stay tuned to see this glass in an up coming Azure listing — maybe they can borrow a few chickens!) The firm has designed a special glazing system to also house micro solar collectors to supply the building’s electrical needs while letting UV light pass to nourish crops.

Units in this ultra hipster high-rise will be larger than normal to accommodate the private patio farming and range from 2,100-5,500 square feet on a single level with bedrooms added only as needed.

Obviously, there will be far fewer bathrooms.

Rents have yet to be decided, but there will be an extensive review and interview process for owners since possible TIFF funding for this urban farming experiment is expected. Texas A&M is rumored to be interested in hosting a study program for future residents here, and Andy Beal says he might just buy the whole thing.

For the neighboring Renaissance and Mayfair condos, the views of this incredible experiment will be a joy. The air, well not so much. Certainly there are worse outcomes for this property.

Obviously an undertaking of this magnitude will require careful construction.  My source set a tentative date for tenant reservations of April 1, 2017 … April Fools Day.


Remember:  Do you have an HOA story to tell?  A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors?  How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting?  Shoot Jon an email.  Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)!

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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